Don Imus and what's ailing the media

Looking back at the exchange of ideas that started with this story and now continues with this one, I'd like to further engage in the discussion of the Don Imus saga, specifically as it relates to the free-speech issues so important in today's society. To that end, I'd also like to dive into the issues Matt, a journalism graduate school friend, brought up in his latest comments.

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Don Imus and free speech

In response to something I wrote about the Don Imus saga Friday, Matt, a journalism graduate school friend of mine, replied and made his case quite succinctly. Another friend, Karl, weighed in, as did I. With our back-and-forth in mind, I'd like to add some detail to my point-of-view. If I may make so bold, Matt's entire argument can be summarized in his own words: "By calling for (and ultimately causing) the firing of Don Imus, it sets a bad precedent for free speech." I disagree, and, though I am as firm a defender of free speech as he, I would like to take this argument in a different direction, speaking to both the issues of our freedoms and the role of the people-powered movement in the debate.

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...defend to the death...

I am amazed how much support I've seen on so-called "progressive" blogs for censorship of the media based on content. Rights are enshrined in the Constitution because of the power of a majority to shout out a minority. Whatever I may think of Imus' comments (and I don't think much of them), allowing pressure groups to force him off the air is another step down the path that could silence an AAR host or a Keith Olbermann if some group decided not supporting the President in time of war, or calling the VP some of the things I've heard him called is offensive.

If we demand the right to speak, then we must protect the right to speak of those whose opinions we hate the most. Otherwise, when they come for us, there will be nobody left to speak.

Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

NBC News President Steve Capus released this statement late Monday: "Beginning Monday, April 16, MSNBC will suspend simulcasting the syndicated `Imus in the Morning' radio program for two weeks. This comes after careful consideration in the days since his racist, abhorrent comments were made. Don Imus has expressed profound regret and embarrassment and has made a commitment to listen to all of those who have raised legitimate expressions of outrage. In addition, his dedication -- in his words -- to change the discourse on his program moving forward, has confirmed for us that this action is appropriate. Our future relationship with Imus is contingent on his ability to live up to his word."
So he's not axed, but a measure has been taken. A progressive probably would have just been axed. When it does return, I wonder how long it will be before he makes the remark that gets him fired.

The America Haters Strike Again

...For them, the military IS America. War is America. The president is America. The NSA is America. Every politician that they love and worship is America. And, if you don't like it, you obviously hate America. You must be some kind of terrorist, or communist; and you'd rather be living in some foreign dictatorship...

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